New federal training program builds on marine emergency response in Indigenous communities on B.C. coast
Ottawa, Ontario – A new project from the Government of Canada is giving members of coastal Indigenous communities in British Columbia additional knowledge, skills and training to help build on the role they play in marine safety in their communities.
The first training session under the Indigenous Community Response Training project wrapped up this week at the Canadian Coast Guard station in Bamfield, B.C. Nine members from seven northern First Nations in the province graduated from the Coastal Nations Search and Rescue course. The participants were on the water for four days of training, taking part in advanced search and rescue simulations and live exercises with Canadian Coast Guard vessels.
The Indigenous Community Response Training project helps to enhance important search and rescue and environmental response capabilities within Indigenous communities through the delivery of a training curriculum tailored to meet the needs of individual communities. This will enhance emergency response partnerships between the Coast Guard and Indigenous communities.
The project falls under one of the four main priority areas identified in the Oceans Protection Plan that aims to strengthen partnerships and launch co-management practices with Indigenous communities, including building local emergency response capacity. Canada’s $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan is designed to improve marine safety and protect Canada’s marine environment and coastal communities.
Photo legend: Participants from B.C. coastal Indigenous communities and trainers at the first training session under the Indigenous Community Response Training project. The session was held during the last week of October 2017 at the Canadian Coast Guard station in Bamfield, B.C.
“Members of coastal and Indigenous communities in British Columbia play an important role in marine safety. They are often the first to arrive on the scene when incidents arise near remote coastal areas. The Indigenous Community Response Training project is just one of the ways we are partnering with coastal and Indigenous communities in B.C. to improve marine safety and protect our coasts.”
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
“We have enjoyed the Coast Guard training in Bamfield very much. We look forward to the Coast Guard folks visiting our communities so that we can introduce them to our culture and our territories.”
Michelle Atchison, Nisga’a Nation
The Indigenous Community Response Training project provides participants with classroom and hands-on training and education on topics like Marine Search and Rescue, Environmental Response, and the Incident Command System, which is quickly becoming the standard methodology when responding to maritime and other all-hazard incidents across Canada.
In addition to formal training sessions under this project, the Canadian Coast Guard will deliver other certificate courses to Indigenous participants throughout the year, including Marine Advanced First Aid and First Responder Oil Spill Training.
The Indigenous Community Response Training project is an important piece of the foundation in continuing to build upon the strong partnerships between the Government of Canada and coastal First Nations in B.C., including the expansion of Indigenous Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Units in the province.
Through the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada is working with Indigenous and coastal communities and marine stakeholders to help keep Canadian waters and coasts safe and clean for today and into the future.
The next training session will take place in Bamfield, B.C. in February 2018.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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